Saturday, October 15, 2011

Featured program for October newsletter: Private Insurance

We will be introducing the health information specialists for the family to family health information center at Family Voices Indiana over the next few months. Their biographies will also be included on our website at Every contractor at our center is a mother of a child(ren) with special healthcare needs and/or disabilities. We have personal experience navigating the systems and services in Indiana. We look forward to learning more about your families as well.

Jan Labas is our HIS in the Ft. Wayne/Allen County area, and lives in Fort Wayne with her husband and children. She is passionate about her work with families of special needs children serving Allen and surrounding counties. Having run into walls and road blocks raising her own special needs children she is personally motivated. There is nothing like the love of a parent to fuel the tireless effort needed to find answers for their child. Often it just takes being pointed in the right direction. Jan has worked with: abused and neglected children, children and adults affected by natural disasters, and children and parents in need of educational advocacy. Jan has worked with athletes with physical disabilities in adapted sports and recreation programs.

Jan feels strongly that it isn’t enough to give answers and steer a caregiver to a solution. One must also empower and educate a caregiver to continue on that path.

Debbie Pedersen is one of our HIS for the Indianapolis area, and lives in Indianapolis. She is married and has two children. Her daughter Kaia is four years old and has multiple special needs. Kaia was born with a rare chromosomal syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, a multicystic, dysplastic kidney, as well as cleft lip/palate, which is not associated with her syndrome. All these medical challenges were detected prenatally. Kaia was also diagnosed with kidney cancer at age two in her functional kidney and went through an intensive treatment regimen of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Kaia is also diagnosed with autism. Debbie and her husband also have a one year old typically developing son, Tor.

Debbie has been an advocate for individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. In high school, she volunteered with Special Olympics. During and following college, she assisted adults with developmental disabilities and worked for a foundation which provided support to those with severe mental illnesses, enabling them to remain in community settings.

She is a passionate breastfeeding supporter, and enjoys traveling, as well as outdoor activities such as canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking. Debbie looks forward to serving and getting to know other families with children with special health care needs.

Featured Program: Private Insurance

In today’s complicated health care environment, finding your way through health insurance plans can often seem overwhelming. Many families have access to health insurance as a part of the benefit package their employer offers, while others purchase health insurance on their own. Many of the ‘mandates’ for coverage issued by the state legislature will not always apply equally to group and individual policies. As you seek to ensure your family’s coverage needs are met, it is important to learn about the type of insurance you have, its limits and your related rights.

All types of insurance plans often come with materials that explain benefits, procedures for obtaining authorization of services and addressing appeals and concerns. Families should seek out these materials and be aware of changes. Your employer, human resources department and plan administer are key sources for this type of information. Increasingly, employers are also sharing this type of information electronically.

A Family Voices health info specialist is happy to help you better understand utilizing private insurance including appeals and complaints. Feel free to call us at 317 944 8982 or email

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The article the talks about private health insurance is very interesting and well explain. The article gives us an explanation of the different types of coverage and how each plan works. Many people who are currently insured or in the process of buying insurance, are not sure about what plan to purchase and how it works. This article will be very informative to this group of people. Being well informed is the main key of having good health coverage.